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Drives improve glass quality

Drives improve glass quality

Leading glass tempering oven manufacturer Glaston has established a strong reputation for excellence serving both the commercial and residential glass markets, and maintains a focus on improving the quality of its products. A recent case in point saw the company address the issue of tiny scratches that can occur as a result of the glass being tempered without precise speed control on the oven's drives. To overcome the challenge, Glaston looked for an alternative to its existing drives supplier.

"The solution arrived initially in the shape of Control Techniques' Unidrive SP drive because of the flexibility of programming and option cards for feedback and communications," explains Glaston's Cliff Matukonis. "However, we soon migrated to the Unidrive M701 as its new features and functionality better suited our needs. The integration of Profibus communications and application modules for increasing the drives' flexibility was also crucial in our decision."

A total of 14 Unidrive M701 drives with Profibus are now deployed in the company's glass tempering ovens, one for each roll section. Rollers pass glass through various oven sections to be treated and then through a cooling section prior to packaging. Glaston also uses 14 Unimotor HD highly dynamic brushless servo motors from Control Techniques, one for each drive.

"The main benefit of the Unidrive M701 is the precise speed control we can now exert on the oven rolls which greatly reduces scratches and imperfections on the glass," states Matukonis. "Furthermore, we now have more capability and flexibility, and found integration to the control system extremely straightforward. The system's design and interfaces, along with its extensive diagnostics capability, also ensure ease-of-use for the machine's operator."

The Unidrive M family of drives offer class-leading induction and permanent magnet servo motor performance with real-time Ethernet. Each drive delivers maximum machine throughput through greater control with single and multi-axis network synchronization. On-board real-time Ethernet (IEEE 1588 V2), advanced motion control and high speed I/O for position capture has made it easier than ever for machine builders to create more sophisticated and flexible machines.

"The new line-up of Unidrive M701 is now integral to all our new and upgraded installations," said Matukonis. "The option cards give these drives incredible flexibility. For example, we are able to bring two encoder signals from other motors into a single drive. With minimal programming, we have been able to have the drives follow either of these encoders with smooth ramps between the two different encoder speeds. I could only find this option in significantly more expensive servo solutions.

"As well as this, we are impressed at how the system deals with any issues. If a drive fails, all the parameters are kept on a magnetic card that can easily be used to program the new drive.

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